Leeds Beckett University and the FA enter into phase two of innovative project with Playermaker exploring demands of the women’s game
The research aims to better understand the demands on players within the women’s game, and what learnings can be taken from the insights obtained to drive the game forward. The research programme instigated by The FA includes a collaboration with Leeds Beckett University to appoint a PhD student and a Post-doctoral researcher, who are using insights gathered from the data to answer performance questions the FA gave, whilst offering data insights directly back to clubs involved in the project to inform their training strategies.
As part of the project, players have been granted the opportunity to access and use the innovative Playermaker wearable technology in matches through the FIFA Innovation Programme. Enabling a wealth of data and insight to be captured on match characteristics and leveraged to better understand how the demands of the women’s game and to inform training prescription.
For the first year of the project, a number of Barclays FA Women’s Super League Senior teams, Academies and FA Women’s Championship clubs wore the Playermaker technology in training offering world first insight into how clubs train and prepare teams. Following acceptance into the FIFA Innovation Programme, the second year of the project allowed clubs to use it in games giving a unique perspective of the demands of elite women’s football and how we prepare and develop players to maximise their potential.
The project aims to better inform coaching staff, multi-disciplinary practitioners and athletes, who as a result will be able to make educated decisions about training priorities and managing injuries, and to better understand training load and match intensity. This is coupled with the ongoing club specific live data visualisation and feedback tools developed by Leeds Beckett (see images below) on a raft of performance metrics against the league averages. These provide live training insights which clubs can use to enhance physical development strategies.
Figure 1A and 1B are examples of some of the data visualisation dashboards developed by Leeds Beckett University for clubs and the FA.
Thanks to the work being conducted by the organisations, the resulting research programme and the participation of clubs; the data will help to innovate, support, and invest in the already phenomenal talent within the women’s game.
Dr Stacey Emmonds, a Reader in Sports Performance at Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie School of Sport, said: “This is a really exciting project to be working on with the FA and Playermaker. The acceptance of Playermaker into the FIFA Innovation Programme is a big milestone in the project as this allows us to better understand the physical demands of the game.
“As part of the research project, Leeds Beckett have developed interactive live training and match dashboards for each club in the project and an overall dashboard for the FA. These provide clubs with live analysis of their training and match data, and it also allows them to make comparisons to anonymised league averages. This enables the clubs to directly integrate the project research findings into daily training practices at the club and further develop evidence informed practice in women’s football.”
Ryan King, The FA’s Performance Support Manager for the Women’s Game, said: “Understanding the demands and developments within the women’s game is crucial to offering the relevant support to players as they seek to fulfil their full potential. Our pioneering project looks to answer a key performance problem; How physically demanding is the game and how can we best develop and prepare players? Using the innovative Playermaker technology and the brilliant minds at Leeds Beckett we will be able to provide performance solutions that help maximise player potential and avoid load related injury issues – it is phenomenally exciting.
“This project alongside Leeds Beckett and Playermaker is designed to fill the knowledge gaps we have on how we prioritise the development of our players, and I am really looking forward to analysing the data we receive over the next season as we take the project to the next level.”
Guy Aharon, CEO and Co-Founder of Playermaker, said: “We are thrilled that professional female footballers will now be able to use Playermaker technology in both game and training environments, as a result of the support and efforts of The FA, Leeds Beckett University and FIFA’s Innovation Programme. The research that is being carried out is crucial to driving forward the women’s game, and we are proud to play a part in investing in and raising the bar for female football athletes overall.
“Beyond this, having the Playermaker wearable device approved for the first-time in professional matches is a huge milestone as our vision is for our technology to be available at all levels of the game, providing the ability for anyone who is passionate about the game to improve using our insights and data.”
Leeds Beckett University will be hosting a Football Exchange Research Conference on Saturday 21st May 2022, where further insights from this research and similar projects in other professional football organisations will be shared.
For further details please contact Dr Stacey Emmonds; email@example.com